The Importance of Keeping Up Your Spa’s Appearance
How do you get customers to come to your spa in the first place and how do you get them to keep coming back, and (hopefully) to get people they know to come, too. Of course, to do a credible job on the subject would take a few books, at the very least, and we doubt you’re particularly inclined to read that much… at least, not in an online article. For that reason, we’ll just toss out a few general ideas, planting seeds, as it were, and let your creativity and business acumen flesh out a program that works for you.
Naturally, the first consideration – before even opening your spa – is to choose a location that will be attractive to your chosen clientele. That might mean a stand-alone facility that exudes beauty, sophistication, and escape, or alternatively, a small storefront in a strip mall that projects an ability to serve your clients quickly and inexpensively. That’s not to say that one is inherently superior to the other or not mutually exclusive, since each will appeal to some customers more than others.
No matter what type of facility you run, you should strive to make the facility itself project the kind of image (as a business) that your customers want to project as individuals. Here are some points to remember.
1. Put on a good front. The first impression begins with the storefront. Choose your décor wisely, and keep it fresh. We’ve all seen spas that have suppliers’ promotional posters proudly displayed, and many of those promotional items are quite beautiful. By the same token, we’ve also seen those same posters that, having been exposed to sunlight for an extended period, have faded into a bluish-tinted mockery of their previous selves, and are torn or curled to boot. That just looks wrong, and it gives the impression that you don’t pay as much attention to detail as you should. So make sure all of your printed promotional materials – posters, brochures, flyers – are in tip-top shape.
If you have plants in your storefront, make certain they look “all dressed up and ready for the ball.” If they’re real and start looking wilted, replace them. If they’re artificial, keep them dusted and as real-looking as possible. Just as a customer wouldn’t think of showing up for an important engagement with their lipstick smeared, foundation cracking, and clothes wrinkled, you don’t want your spa to look the worse for wear, either. So by all means, use the promotional materials you get and add fresh touches to your storefront.
2. Make your reception area inviting. The second most important “first impression” your business makes is in the front room. The furnishings should be tasteful, but not necessarily expensive. Above all, the waiting room – just like the rest of the facility – must be spotless. You might not think it too important if a customer spills a few drops of wine or coffee on the sofa, for example, but you’ll want to remove the stains as quickly as possible, because as we all know, one small stain, left to its own devices, will multiply rapidly, and before you know it, your furniture will start to make “shabby chic” look tasteful by comparison. (Hint: Wait until your customer is being taken care of before beginning an aggressive clean-up of the mess he or she has made. Make a customer feel guilty for any reason, and you’re not likely to see that person again.)
3. Cleanliness … The other areas of your facility – everything from the treatment areas, to the restrooms, to the kitchen if you have one – need to shine just as much as the storefront if you want to keep your customers coming back. Obviously you want to comply with all local health regulations, but you should do more than just comply; it should be very apparent to your clients that they are being pampered in a clean, healthy environment. This involves more than just displaying your licenses, certifications, and compliance notifications in visible areas. Beyond hygiene issues, your facility makes a statement about your attitude toward appearances, and since your customers are there to make themselves look as good as possible, you want to project a sense that you share their appreciation for (and commitment to) beauty. Keeping the hair swept up in the salon area is just the beginning. Keep an eye on the little things, too, such as making certain that shampoo and conditioner bottles don’t have any residue on them, that your equipment doesn’t bear evidence of even having been used. Perhaps most importantly, make certain that all mirrors are crystal clear, and free of spots or imperfections. Your customers will be looking in those mirrors a lot, and you don’t want them to notice anything except how beautiful you have made them look.
4. Make sure your staff is as spiffy as your spa. One other area that altogether too many spa owners either overlook, or simply choose not to address, is the appearance of employees in general, and stylists in particular. There’s nothing wrong with employees exhibiting their stylistic flair in the form of avant-garde hairstyles and fashion, but most people will flinch if the stylist giving them a perm has bubblegum pink hair. Here, you need to make a judgment call, something between stifling their creativity and allowing a free-for-all. If you’re unsure, just listen to your customers. You can be assured that they will let you know what they think. Just don’t wait for them to express their opinions by disappearing! And be sure to let your employees know beforehand what you consider to be appropriate.
There are few hard and fast rules when it comes to making your spa attractive to customers, but by tempering your own creativity with a good dose of common sense and a finger on your customers’ pulse, you aren’t likely to go too far wrong.